Saturday, February 13, 2016

Supplements are for supplementation; Not Solution

Don't be caught in the hype of taking 50 pills, three times a day because "so and so" said one would make you live to 150 years old; or you read online that you could lose 50 pounds in just one week with a single pill. There is no easy fix to weight loss, and chances are if it seems too good to be true; that's because it is. Throughout the years I have taken daily multi-vitamins on and off, never really sticking with them in the long run. Other things I have occasionally taken to supplement my body in the past were L-Glutamine after snowboarding for an extended period of time, or after really good workouts, probiotics when I was having digestive issues, and whey protein every now and then when I was on a gym kick; and that's pretty much it. Since becoming more serious about fitness, and competition prep; I have an array of daily additives and I am here to talk about them with you. First let's start with the basics; everyone should take a multi-vitamin daily, I choose to take an organic woman's specific multi-vitamin from the company Raw One. I chose organic because quality does make a difference; most over the counter vitamins have fillers, low quality ingredients, and chemicals and I am very particular with what I choose to put in my body. If I am going out of my way to take a vitamin, I want whole traces of the vitamin and not plastic fillers. With my vitamin I take a probiotic; which is live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. For anyone that has read my blog in the past, you know I tell things how they are and try not to sugarcoat things, so why start? In my experience so far; the life of a competitor really throws some changes within your body. The first two weeks, not going to lie; the gas was so bad that sometimes I wasn't sure if I should run to the bathroom or not. Which leads me to the extreme change in bowel movements I was having. Typically after talking to other competitors there are two sides; constipated or running for the bathroom, I currently was the latter. Not to mention the odor of the gas was unbearable; I was eating clean, shouldn't that mean the smell should be more pleasant? No, quite the opposite actually. Now when your boyfriend blames the bad odor on protein powder you will understand and not just think he is being superficial. Just remember, it's not only you; everyone is going through it whether they admit it or not. The next pill going in my mouth in the morning is Fish oil/Omega 3; which is terrific for smoothing your arteries. Why would you want your arteries to be smooth you ask? It improves the flow of blood to your muscles during exercise, which then helps stimulate enzymes that transport fat to where it can be used for energy instead of storage. As a bonus, Omega 3's also aid in weight loss. These two pills get washed down with 8 ounces of BCAA water with half a lemon squeezed in; now what is BCAA water? Branched-chain amino acid or BCAA the three branches are leucine, isoleucine and valine. Leucine causes muscle protein synthesis which in general is removing, or repairing damaged proteins and building new proteins that are replicas of the original. Otherwise, you start to see a net breakdown of tissue. Aminos can help prevent soreness, and this is originally how I learned about them through Nick. After my first training session, the following morning I literally couldn't straighten out my arms all the way. My biceps were so tight and sore it took about a little under a week for them to be completely healed I needed something besides Glutamine to help that process. Which leads me to not only a scoop of BCAA's that goes into 32 ounces of water, but also a quarter of a scoop of Glutamine; that gets mixed up and I drink throughout the day. The next concoction I make is 1 tablespoon of Metamucil unsweetened orange flavor, 7 ounces of water, and 1 ounce of organic unsweetened cranberry juice; yes I said Metamucil. But isn't Metamucil for, old people? Apparently it helps you feel less hungry between meals, maintain healthy blood sugar levels as part of your diet, lowers cholesterol to promote heart health, and promotes digestive health. Fiber is very important to our overall health and wellness; helping not only to keep things moving along in our digestive system, but also helps reduce the risk of a heart attack with a 40% lower risk. Researchers have also found that for every 7 grams of fiber you consume on a daily basis, you lower your risk of a stroke by 7%. Even if you eat really healthy with a balance of fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein; typically you are still too low in the fiber department. But beware; you need to drink this right away or it will thicken up to almost jello consistency, I choked it down (it almost came back up) the first time since I didn't know it did that! It doesn't end there; my morning routine is rather extensive and if I know I have to go somewhere in the morning, I measure and get as much ready as possible the night before. Next, is my fish oil pill which I keep in the freezer to prolong the shelf-life, make it go down easier, and mainly to not have fish burps later on in the day, because who wants those? From there I start making my breakfast, already drinking 16 ounces of water prior. Though water is not a supplement; it is a very important aspect of competition preparation, considering the first day of hell week (I will explain what this is in posts to come as my competition date approaches) I have to drink two gallons of water! That is a lot of water, and bathroom trips. The average adult body is 50-65% water, so what does that mean? Most adults do not drink as much water as they should on a daily basis. And I mean water people; not milk, or juice, or soda, or beer. Water. It is advised to drink a gallon a day, which is 4 quarts. So that is how I organize my gallon a day to ensure I am drinking enough water. An example of what my water intake looks like would be a mason jar of muddled basil or mint water, a Nalgene with the BCAA/Glutamine water (which is spread throughout my day,) a mason jar of plain water with a tea bag flavor of the day, and lastly fresh squeezed lemon/lime water which I add a little of the BCAA water to sweeten it up (mine specifically is an artificial fruit punch flavor) to taste just like Gatorade! I do not count my 8 ounces of lemon water, or my 8 ounces of cranberry concoction in the morning towards my gallon goal, nor do I count the occasional tea or two that I make throughout the day (one usually after breakfast, and the other mid-day.) Supplements are wonderful in theory, but remember licensed products are giving endorsements to those who are promoting them. Also note; I am not endorsed by any company so anything I post or promote on my blog is just my experience and not promotional. Be sure to research the product prior to taking it, many dietary supplements have more fillers or low quality ingredients than you think. As of now I do not take a fat burner, but have questioned it a few times with Seven Lemons, Nick, and Carmen; I will probably bring it up again to Carmen soon. There are two types of fat burners; Non-Stimulants and Stimulant, I would probably be taking a non-stimulant since I have never taken them before and how strong caffeine effects me since I do not partake in much caffeine in my diet. Just remember this is another piece to the puzzle and not a miracle worker, just because you take a fat burner does not mean you will instantly be 90 pounds and withering away; it simply stimulates the metabolism to burn fat efficiently. Don't be the girl who does not eat and takes fat burners; this will deplete your muscles, your weight loss will be temporary, and you will gain back even more weight in the end. Remember, to lose weight; you must eat! The last familiar supplement is whey protein, I have always been a vanilla fan and that is what I stick to. GNC used to carry a great vanilla whey protein that literally tasted like a milkshake no artificial aftertaste or sweetener, but they don't make it anymore. Seems everyone is interested in less sugar and the use of artificial sweeteners, when I can't stand the taste. Carmen recommended Inner Armour to me since they sell it at the gym and she said I could try it and if I didn't like it she would take it for herself; it still has an artificial flavor that is almost too sweet but it is bearable. I have already decided that when this container is gone however I am going to check out an all natural company such as Vega since as I stated earlier, I really like less artificial and processed ingredients going in my body. I even contacted Vega about my concern and they are sending me some free samples to try, so hopefully I can get my whey protein and BCAA's from them in the future and have it still taste good! The last thing I want to touch on briefly is pre-workout or caffeine pills; I have taken a few types of both and generally don't enjoy the experience. The first time I took caffeine pills was when I was working at LA Fitness; a lot of the sales associates live on energy drinks and caffeine pills, together. I tried a whole pill one afternoon and felt as though I was drunk, really hungry but with kind of a stomachache that I wasn't sure if I was hungry, the fact that I couldn't sit still, or really focus on anything. I ruled out caffeine pills after that and some advised I probably should have only taken half of a pill to acclimate to it. Since then, (just yesterday actually) I have tried them again; I knew I was going to have a more than extended day and I needed something to keep me going. After waking up at 7:30am; cleaning the house all day (from about 8:30-1:30 it's a big house) I knew I would be spending 2 hours at least at the gym with Eric. This is when I took the first half of the caffeine pill, after the workout I knew at about 6:00 I would be heading in to bartend and be closing; which meant I wouldn't be out until 2:00 or 3:00am the following day! I took the second half just before I went in to work and let's just say I made it through a very long busy day and I think I have the caffeine pill to thank for that. My pre-workout experience was just about as good as my first caffeine pill; let's just say I didn't sleep that night. What I was told after the fact, I should have drank it all down at once before my workout; since I drank the majority and then sipped on it throughout my workout that prolonged it's effects. All in all, I may give pre-workout another shot sometime, but I don't see the need to at this time. I will leave you with this; you cannot just take these products and expect results without proper nutrition and training or working out, just get moving! They are only as great as the many other parts involved in a well-balanced healthy lifestyle.

Some of my supplements, you'd think I loved Inner Armour but really my trainers are sponsored by them
Fish Oil/Omega 3, and the pure cranberry juice I use
Apparently not just for the elderly!
Daily gallon challenge
Tea is my favorite! Green tea to help burn fat, and any other tea I can get my hands on

Looks like; fish oil, multi-vitamin, and probiotic time

Just spent a small fortune on organic vitamins, I still look happy though

Never enough counter space in the morning

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